Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 6

Responding to the printing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed by a Danish newspaper and other publications, the imam of the main mosque in Makhachkala, Dagestan, offered a special prayer “recited only on the eve of war, social explosion, or other serious disturbance,” Gazeta reported on February 7. The newspaper reported that the imam, Magomedrasul Saaduev, asked the Almighty to deliver the followers of Islam all over the world from wars and difficult trials, and then said: “You all know what is happening in the world because of the caricatures of our Prophet. We must express our attitude toward this.” According to Gazeta, the mosque’s deputy imam, Zaynulla Gadzhiataev, declared: “Our enemies are trying to provoke us, they want to see our reaction. We will show them! They presume to mock our Prophet! It is a pity that we do not have the possibility of flogging these people with our own hands!” Magomed Gadzhiyev, chief editor of the newspaper Nur-ul Islam, which expresses the viewpoint of the Spiritual Board of the Muslims of Dagestan, urged listeners to protest to the embassies of Denmark, Norway, and France and boycott their goods.

Ingushetia’s Mufti Isa Khamkhoev also condemned the cartoons. “The freedom of speech gives no one the right to insult the feelings of believers of any religion,” he told Itar-Tass on February 8, calling the caricatures “a provocation which sows the seeds of enmity among the people professing different religions” and saying that “the state should be responsible for media outlets which take the liberty to make such attacks.” The “Danish leadership” should “impose sanctions on those media outlets, up to shutting them down,” he said, adding that Ingushetia’s Islamic High Council had sent an appeal to the Russian leadership expressing concern over the situation in the world after the publication of cartoons and expressing the hope that “such insults to religious feelings will never be tolerated in Russia.”